Tag Archives: Lingfield

All-Weather Eyecatchers #7

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing on the All-Weather. Find all previous lists here.

Naughty Ted
22/01/23 – 12.45 Newcastle:

Swerved violently left out of the gate, lost ground. Got back in touch with the field, always travelling on the outside, without much cover. Outpaced from over three furlongs out, but made nice progress on the widest outside from 3 to final furlong marker.

Disappointing nto at Southwell. Appears exposed,; however, may have a bit more to offer going up in trip, and certainly on grass. Handicap debut in September over 7f at Newcastle was promising as well.

Want to see him back up in trip, one to keep in mind for turf also. However, down to a mark of 50, on AW still interesting. Will be intriguing to see once he’s gelded.

Race Replay

Pepper Streak
23/01/23 – 5.10 Southwell:

Quickly out of the gate, although, slightly awkward in initial phase of the race. Raced freely, bang up with pace as part of quartet, travelling well until fading from 2 furlongs out, paying the price for early exertions.

Only 1/17 but the two final runs in December were quite strong, especially the Southwell performance warrants an upgrade. She’s a tricky sort, tends to races freely.

Will be interesting with any reduction in her mark down to 60, plus if she drops down to class 6 again, as she ran well the last two times in the lower grade. Her speed ratings would give her a good chance in a race with favourable pace and draw.

Race Replay

Big Impact
23/01/23 – 4.20 Wolverhampton:

Reared, bumped right after start, still moved forward quickly to grab solid spot tracking the pace. Held up behind leaders, impeded around the home turn, briefly losing a bit of momentum. Solid finish against inside rail.

Caught the eye a number of times lately, having run strong speed ratings in line with his mark while also having to overcome wide draws. Usually a solid starter.

Is he in the grip of the handicapper? Possibly, although if he can get a solid start he’ll be dangerous, slowly dropping to a sexy mark, especially back over 6f.

Ran nto in Amateurs Handicap over 7f. Ridden too aggressively, didn’t stay.

Race Replay

They Don’t Know
23/01/23 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Badly away from the gate, not helped by horse drawn right beside him. Travelled in rear, had a lot to do turning for home. Finished seriously impressive in the last three furlongs, making huge against against the inside rail.

Strong form. Winner backed up. He’s still a maiden. Obviously a difficult sort. Usually an okay starter. Down another pound, ran to higher speed ratings before. Appears to be in serious form.

Race Replay

Legal Reform
24/01/23 – 5.30 Southwell:

Excellent start from lowest draw, moved quickly forward, led early on, pressed for the lead all the way thereafter, still right up there approaching the final furlong, although in reality he was tiering badly from three furlongs out.

Strong run in circumstances, winner and second came from off the pace. Probably needed it still, as this was his second run after a long absence.

Will be interesting if he can drop in class, down to a mark of 70, then over 7 furlongs, because a mile seemed to stretch him in the past.

Race Replay

How Bizarre
24/01/23 – 6.00 Southwell:

Quickly overcame the widest draw to establish a solid lead heading into the turn. Was really gutsy all the the way to the line in a tight finish. Excellent run.

Ran with plenty of credit in all his recent starts. A tricky sort these days, though. Tends to hang in closing stages. Can win one of these poor contests, though.

Entry next Friday over a mile intriguing, if pace scenario favourable. That looks potentially an even worse race than this one.

Race Replay

Emperor Spirit
26/01/23 – 7.30 Newcastle:

Grabbed the lead promptly, set red hot pace, pestered by rival throughout, travelled strongly, but drifted across the track as he got really tired and was eventually beaten in third by horses from off the pace.

Dropped in grade here and clearly up to win in C4. Ran well all winter. One pound below last winning mark from June 2022 as he won over 6f at Chelmsford off 88 running to a 90 speed rating.

Most recent best on speed rating only 82, but now down to mark off 87 and if down to C4 again should have every chance. His RPR’s are not far off his best, so fair to assume he can win off his current mark.

Race Replay

Lost In Time
28/01/23 – 12.33 Lingfield :

Held up off the pace, travelled smoothly into the home straight. Good progress from 2f out, not the clearest of passages and all momentum stopped one furlong out. Got going again to finish nicely.

Caught the eye in earlier this winter. Seemed to have lost all form subsequently. Clear return to form, and has shown to be able to race up with the pace.

Has been left on the same mark. Obviously well-handicapped if in the same frame of mind next time out.

Race Replay

Solar Prophet
28/01/23 – 1.43 Lingfield:

Travelled nicely tracking the pace in fourth. Seemingly in good position, but forced wider than ideal entering the home straight by rival, which cost momentum and possibly victory, as the front-running winner was gone. Took a bit of time to get organised before rattling home strongly.

Didn’t stay a mile before. Strong form over 6 furlongs at Southwell prior, when poorly away from the gate, left too far off the pace, caught wide but made eye-catching progress from halfway through the race.

Ran to speed ratings 52 and 55 in his last three runs. Deserves another chance off a 57 rating over 6 furlongs. Still a maiden, but somewhat unexposed over this trip, especially off a fair handicap mark, and not without hope to improve.

Race Replay

Sun Power
31/01/23 – 6.30 Southwell:

Was awkwardly away from the gate and as a result trailed. Travelled nicely, before steered right into traffic over 2f out. Rather light right in the home straight, but finished best the last two furlongs on sectionals despite being tenderly handled especially in the final furlong.

Second run after a long break. Will be interesting once he moves up to 7f again and the money is down. Handicapper might give him a couple pounds off too. Clearly one readied for ‘the day’.

Race Replay

Alaskan
02/02/23 – 4.35 Southwell:

Widest draw, had to settle off the pace, three wide. Bit of progress around the home bend to come with a challenge on the widest outside toward the unfavourable stands’ side rail. Looked a bit disorganised, took him a moment to hit top gear before running home strongly in the final furlong.

Handicap debut from outside the weights after gelding and wind operation over the winter and off a break after three qualifying runs on turf. Was smashed in the betting.

One to monitor for nto. Intriguing to find out what the handicapper does. He was rated 42 on debut here. He’s clearly a bit better than a basement mark. Especially interesting if he steps up in trip to 7f.

Race Replay

Dapper Man
31/01/23 – 8.00 Southwell:

Tracked the pace and eventual winner early on, got outpaced halfway through, before he had to switch due to traffic problems. Got going again and ran on really well against the unfavourable stands’ side rail.

Far from disgraced in his last four runs since return to the All-Weather. Ran to 50 (in this race) and 52 speed ratings. Veteran who looks set for a big run once he races around a turn again over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Mustaffiz
02/02/23 – 6.00 Chelmsford:

Pulls his way to the front from #7 draw. Travelles well, although pace not too hot. Tires quickly in the home straight, although positive to see that he continues to gallop to the line well enough.

Wasn’t expected in any of his runs since moving to the UK. Comes down to intriguing mark, especially if he drops in trip. 6f or possibly even minimum trip over stiff 5f at Newcastle would be interesting, with some market support.

Race Replay

Cappananty Con
03/02/23 – 1.20 Lingfield:

Pulled his way to the front, keen, couple of lengths ahead approaching the home straight, only beaten over half a furlong from home eventually.

Trip is too far. Notably that he was positively ridden for the first time in a while. Better than bare result in two runs in December, especially when draw and the way those races developed didn’t help. Clearly back to some decent level of form.

Ran in August still to a 55 speed rating. Veteran, but looks ready to strike once dropped in trip.

Race Replay

Sajwaan
04/04/23 – 2.20 Lingfield:

Pushed forward and had a bit of work to do to get to get close to the pace, tracked leader keenly in first time visor travelling off the rail. Bit outpaced entering the home straight but kept going well to the line, accepting the challenges.

Must be a tricky sort. Already changed yards twice. Still a colt. Should benefit from step up in trip. Dam did best over 7 furlongs. Ran in and around his current mark here but could find more for trip, and potentially gelding.

Race Replay

Letmelivemylife
04/04/23 – 4.20 Lingfield:

Pulled back right after the start, in rear of the field, send wide from 4f out and turned wider than ideal. Going strongly, nonetheless, however never asked a serious question, properly under full drive way too late.

Off a break for new yard, probably prepared. Realistically lightly raced since winning a Wolverhampton Handicap nearly two years ago. 3lb lower right now.

Race Replay

Gowanbuster
04/04/23 – 7.15 Newcastle:

Moved forward quickly, led by a couple of lengths before challenged for the lead from halfway through. Kept going before tiering badly inside final furlong. Fared best of the early pace, but no chance with those ridden with more restraint.

Second run after a break and wind operation. Looked good on comeback run too. Two pounds higher now. Probably more fairly handicapped than well-handicapped right now.

Another drop in the ratings would be interesting, especially down to the minimum trip. I would also love to see him racing around a turn over 6f. Looks unlikely given he usually races at Newcastle.

Race Replay

Muy Muy Guapo
04/04/23 – 7.30 Kempton:

Bit awkward away from the gate, settled in last, travelled strongly into the home straight. Was able to answer every acceleration from the front group, but didn’t get a clear passage, while not really asked for full effort at all.

Handicap debut and first run for the Simon Dow yard off a 100 day break. Very much expect him to improve for the run. He’s still a colt and cost £115k as a yearling.

He clearly has talent. Horses in this grade don’t often travel that well and can answer every pace acceleration that easily.

Race Replay

Saturday Selections: 28th January 2023

12.33 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 1m

Obviously Wake Up Harry is here, who I was quite keen to back on Monday, before Kempton got cancelled.

I can’t back him here from the #10, though. As my week goes, he probably wins now. He’s good enough and has perhaps the pounds in hand to overcome it, but with a muddling pace scenario it’s not a price I am prepared to back.

Purely a value play with the pace scenario in mind is Adaayinourlife, instead. He won eleven month ago a CD Handicap of similar setup, although that day he had a much wider draw to overcome.

Today he’s got an ideal #2 draw to move forward and grab the lead. There is lack of pace here, and that will play into his cards to use his possibly superior speed, as otherwise the mile trip is right at his limit.

His comeback run at Kempton last month after having been off the track since April was quite pleasing. He found the 7f a bit sharp on the day but run nicely in the home straight.

If he can strip fitter and get the ideal pace scenario he’s seriously overprices; although, with this yard, you just never know whether they run on their merit.

10pts win – Adaayinourlife @ 20/1

……..

1.43 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 6f

Solar Profit has ran much better the last two times than the bare form suggest. He didn’t stay last time out when fading badly, but it was positive to see him start sharply.

That wasn’t the case on his penultimate run over 6 furlongs at Southwell, when poorly away from the gate, left too far off the pace, caught wide and yet he made eye-catching progress from halfway through the race.

That form looks quite strong on paper, too. Therefore this slightly stronger race doesn’t worry me. He’s 3lb lower in his OR now and remains unexposed over this sprint trip.

From the perfect #4 draw, if he gets the start right, he should move forward and be right up with the pace in a race where not too many seem likely to compete for the lead.

This is his third start for the Boughey yard and since being gelded, he should be hitting peak readiness today, with blinkers back on and the apprentice of the minute on board.

10pts win – Solar Profit @ 4/1

………

7.00 Kempton: Class 4 Handicap, 1m

Very few look interesting from a handicapping point of view in this field, and I suspect the way the race is likely to be run, will disadvantage the vast majority.

One who is likely to go forward and won’t have an issue from his wider than normally ideal draw is Counsel. He doesn’t appear overly well handicapped, and his strike rate is poor, but he warrants upgrading for his recent runs.

He runner-up performance behind Brains looks really solid, and he ran much better than the bare form last time out at Southwell as he did a lot to cross over from an #11 draw to lead.

He shouldn’t need to spend too much energy to get over today. There are not many here who have shown in the pace a consistent eagerness to lead.

Off a mark of 78 he has a bit to find in this class on speed ratings as his sole win a is 7f Novice race from last year at Lingfield. However, he appears to be a better horse on the All-Weather, and potentially on the polytrack surface.

His two Kempton runs can be forgiven. He was held up and not in the race back then. The trip shouldn’t be an issue at all, even though he is yet to win over a mile.

What is a clear positive is the jockey booking. Williams/O’Neill is a potent combo.

10pts win – Counsel @ 12/1

Friday Selections: 27th January 2023

12.45 Lingfield: Class 6 Apprentice Handicap, 7f

I was seriously keen on Healing Power the last time at Wolverhampton. Albeit, that day he finished a disappointing 7th, there is a fair excuse for the below-par run.

Last time, from the #7 draw, the gelding was awkward away hence a step slow, was caught wide early as he moved forward to grab the lead eventually. The race was over there and then for him, as he faded badly in the closing stages.

It was also a strong contest, the winner clearly well handicapped and others have followed up with their own good runs subsequently.

Nonetheless, what made Healing Power a good bet that day remains largely the case why I am prepared to give him another chance here.

He can jump from the #1 gate, is back at his preferred Lingfield where he has a 7-2-3 record and there isn’t too much competition for the lead expected.

The Lingfield run in December remains a strong piece of form, suggesting the 7-year-old is in pretty good form. He is 3lb lower today, down to a mark of 61, which makes him well handicapped, if he can run to the same level of form again, that I believe is not far off his strong summer AW form when he ran twice to strong speed ratings, and won off 60.

10pts win – Healing Power @ 6/1

……….

3.55 Lingfield: Class 5 Handicap, 5f

This looks really competitive with a hot pace but I must give Ooh Is It a chance at the given prices, as he is clearly overpriced, if all is well.

There is a bit money coming, he was available at 16s this morning, but is nibbled at, that gives me a bit more confidence and hope. He missed some recent engagements, so wellbeing is taken at face value.

However, he ran extremely well at the end of last year, seriously caught the eye at Wolverhampton, and wasn’t disgraced when 3rd at Southwell subsequently behind two well handicapped individuals, while it was report that the “gelding had struck into himself on his left fore” during the race.

He missed the break the next time at Wolverhampton, which is unusual. He lost the race there and then.

From a perfect #2 draw today here’s hoping for a good start. A low draw for a prominent/front-running horse is a major advantage over this CD.

Ooh Is It ran to a speed rating of 71 back in November; he’s now down a mark of 66. if he’s healthy and well, he’s certainly quite well handicapped now.

10pts win – Ooh Is It @ 10/1

All-Weather Eyecatchers #6

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing on the All-Weather.

Dark Shot
10/01/23 – 8.30 Southwell:

Poor start from the widest draw meant his race was done and dusted there and then. Crossed to the inside rapidly and keenly. Travelled well subsequently, strong progress against the inside rail as the field turned for home, but effort petered out in the final furlong.

Borderline stays 6 furlongs. No surprise after start from wide draw to see him falter late. Did too much to overcome disadvantage from 4f to 2f. Best All-Weather efforts over the minimum trip, though won over 6f in October off a higher mark.

Slight concern he’s had a few issues at the start lately. Can be hit and miss, these days; no surprise given his age. Looks potentially quite well handicapped if down to 5f from a good draw and a sharp start, though.

Race Replay

Come On Girl
13/01/23 – 1.10 Lingfield:

Awkward start from widest gate, wasn’t an advantage in this field, albeit only five other rivals in it. Dropped to rear, under pressure from three furlongs out, then finished much the fastest from two furlongs out despite turning wide.

Obviously in fine form. Ran to 59 and 60 speed ratings over this CD in November. Not always advantaged by the draw, but often ran well in recent weeks.

Down to last winning mark. Interesting, ideally with a good apprentice on board, otherwise I’d prefer her to drop another couple of pounds, given mares over the winter are always up against it, even if she looks to be in good form.

Race Replay

Hiatus
13/01/23 – 2.40 Lingfield:

Went off hard from the front, seemingly not easy to control, set the world alight in the first half of the race. Was bound to fade badly but managed to hold on for third, albeit hanging in the home straight.

Difficult sort. But this performance is probably strong. Cost only 18k as a yearling, has probably not too much in hand yet, but a drop to 6 furlongs could see him win. Stiff 6f at Newcastle perhaps? I can see 7f with a good draw at Wolverhampton also a possibility, though, especially if the handicapper would be lenient.

Race Replay

Dutugamunu
14/01/23 – 12.35 Lingfield:

Not the sharpest out of the gate, soon moved forward and took quite a grip travelling behind the leaders. Travelled notably well into the home straight but didn’t find much.

He’s a tricky sort who can be a bit slowly away. Didn’t finish his races too well lately. But comes down to seriously low mark now, dropped another 2lb in the meantime, and the way he travelled was noteworthy. Possibly extended too much energy early on.

I would love to see him given another try over 7 furlongs, but have to keep an open mind over a mile as well in the right race.

Race Replay

Holdenhurst
14/01/23 – 3.30 Lingfield:

Moved over quickly from wide draw just to get in front at the entry of the first bend. Led by a couple of lengths and did a lot to get there. Travelled well enough, still ahead at the final furlong marker, before fading badly.

Solid run, better than 10th place finish suggested. Dropped blow OR 50. Still managed some solid speed ratings in the last 12 months; this a return to form in my view. Interesting back at Wolverhampton; even drop to 6f could be interesting.

Race Replay

John O’Groats
15/01/23 – 12.50 Southwell:

Very slowly away from wide draw, in rear, eyecatching progress around the home bend going wide, ran on for second. Appeared to stay on late but his final furlong split is slow.

Quirky sort. Can pull really hard. Ran some intriguing races on turf last year. Lightly enough race but one to monitor for support in the betting and I am only interested once he drops down to 7f.

Race Replay

Aberfoyle
15/01/23 – 1.20 Southwell:

Right on the heels of the leader, travelled strongly, still on the bridle approaching 2f marker, before getting tired. Winner came from off the pace.

Handicap debut, lightly raced, gelded in November. More to come but will need drop to 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Seagrave Fox
15/01/23 – 1.20 Southwell:

Attempted to make all, led while pestered by horse on his heels. Was going well but quickly faded from 2 furlongs out.

Probably doesn’t stay the trip, given he can exert himself in the early stages. Was his 3yo debut and only 2nd Handicap run. Drop to 6f will be really interesting. One for now, though. Started early as a juvenile and won’t have much scope.

Race Replay

Battle Point
16/01/23 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Soon chased the leader, pestered him all the way while pace was really solid. Battled well right to the line before fading late for 3rd.

Off a lay-off, being gelded in the meantime too, strong performance here and inline with lto run that can be significantly marked up; wasn’t fancied here at all.

Still a maiden but clearly down to a good mark, if untouched by the handicapper.

Race Replay

Prince Of Rome
16/01/23 – 7.00 Wolverhampton:

Awkward start from wide draw, bumped into rival, settled off pace, swerved very wide around the bend before moving inside again but being relegated to last. Incredible progress in home straight, finished much the fastest.

Comeback run after a long lay-off. Changed yards in the meantime. Clearly in good nick. Ready to win in right conditions. Monday entry #8 draw not compelling. Wait for a day with a good draw over the minimum trip.

Race Replay

Lady Ursula
17/01/23 – 6.00 Southwell:

Bit awkward away from the gate, ducking left, settled off pace on the outside, never got much cover. Made significant progress halfway through, tried to challenge but bit outpace from 2f out; gutsy and brave ran strongly to the line.

Needs to move up to 6f again. Should have solid chance to stay 7f. Full-sister to modest 75 rated gelding who stays 7f. April foal, may still have some improvement to do. Possibly one for early turf season more than AW.

Race Replay

Galileo Glass
17/01/23 – 7.30 Southwell:

Good start, but restrained at the back of the field. Turned for home in last position, seemed posed for a solid challenge, but didn’t get a clear run, had to switch multiple times. Finished easily.

Lost his form, new yard didn’t bring out any uptick in form yet. But this a clear sign of life. Could be well handicapped on best form. One to monitor if the betting speaks in his favour.

Race Replay

Ornate
17/01/23 – 12.40 Kempton:

Pushed aggressively forward to grab the lead. Always challenged by rival, though. Hot pace, had eventual winner on the stretch, especially around the sharp bend. Tired badly.

Strong run. The old boy can still win. Won off 61 at Chelmsford in October, ran to 63 speed rating there. Will be interesting in less hot race pace wise with good draw over 5f once dropped below 60 in class 6.

Monday entry in class 5 one to sit out.

Race Replay

Tricky Business
20/01/23- 4.23 Southwell

Good progress from the widest draw on the outside of the field to grab the lead soon. Let the field for home ,setting a good pace. Severely under pressure and headed over two furlong out but kept going strongly.

Re-Entry from Eyecatchers #3. Ran well down to 6 furlongs at Newcastle in the meantime, followed up here with a strong effort off lowered mark.

Remains of interest over 6 furlongs, especially if the handicapper leaves him on a 55 OR. has entries over 7f next week. Should be competitive again but I still believe the trip is most likely to far as he will exert too much energy going hard from the front, or else, pulling hard if restraint (despite is sole career win over the trip).

Race Replay

Huberts Dream
21/01/23 – 12.27 Lingfield:

Quickly moved forward, showed good early speed and led enthusiastically. Poured it on from over 3f out and had the field on the stretch, still leading by a couple of lengths approaching the final furlong, before a dramatic collapse.

Did way too much too soon, but impressive how long he kept going strongly. First start as a 3yo, won three juvenile races on the trot prior. Still progressing as a May foal you would expect.

May be too short price, but clearly still capable to win and Handicapper hasn’t much opportunity to hike his mark for this 5/7 finish.

Race Replay

Rebel Redemption
21/03/23 – 6.30 Wolverhampton:

Rushed forward aggressively from the widest draw, got the lead but had plenty of rivals on his heels, some who would often go forward. Led into home straight, and in front to nearly the final furlong before getting tired.

Good run, off a small break, looks to find some form again. Worth to wait for any further reduction in his mark, and when some money in the market. Ran 10 months ago over this CD to 68 speed rating off a 69 mark when he won.

Race Replay

Monday Selections: 9th January 2023

5.30 Wolverhampton: Class 6 Apprentice Handicap, 7f

I’ve got three running from the latest Eyecatcher list. Not ideal. Thankfully I’ve got clear conditions set out for Jupiter Express and Desert Dream, and they aren’t met here.

They should still be fancied runners. In contrast, few in this field I regard as serious contenders. But knowing this race isn’t ideal for either Jupiter Express nor Desert Dream means they aren’t value for the win, in my view.

That leaves Healing Power. This looks a perfect opportunity for the 7-year-old gelding, in comparison. Let’s first review his most recent effort, that got him an entry on the eyecatchers:

Three weeks ago at Lingfield, he lead from the front, albeit pestered by a rival throughout. He set a good, even pace throughout. He was still leading at the final furlong marker, before headed over half a furlong from home by the eventual winner and runner-up, who came from off the pace. He managed to hold on for third eventually.

I believe this is strong form – on an individual level, because speed ratings confirmed an excellent figure of 59; form wise – because winner and second ran to higher than- or equal speed figures to their handicap mark. The winner went back-to-back and followed up with another strong 2nd place afterwards again.

The handicapper has been surprisingly friendly, having dropped Healing Power by 2lb for this strong performance, that at very least was very much in line with his then current rating, actually.

Off 62, in the right race, Healing Power will be handicapped to win in my view. He ran to 64 and 65 speed ratings within the last half year over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, and this lto effort confirms his excellent current form.

Is this the right race? Yes and no. It’s not because this is Wolverhampton, Tapeta. His best sand performances all came at either Lingfield or Chelmsford on the polytrack. He also has to overcome a wider than ideal draw in #7. The Furtado yard has a poor spell right now, is 0/16 in the last fortnight.

But the positives outweigh all the negatives. He only raced three times on the Tapeta, was placed once in a hot class 5 contest, with the other two runs came over 6 furlongs and a mile, neither an ideal trip, off higher marks as well.

In class 6 over 7 furlongs he’s 1/5 and placed in 3 more, all those runs with Elle-May Croot in the saddle, who is on board here once again, and who maintains her 7lb claim even in this Apprentice race – with that she has a positive weight advantage to some other apprentices in this field, if they would meet in an ordinary Handicap, in fact.

The draw isn’t ideal, yes; thankfully Healing Power is a quick starter and there isn’t too many horses who are likely to charge forward in this field. The only one is Jupiter Express, who is likely to pull for his head over this trip, but at the same time will give Healing Express a nice focus point, something like a lead horse, who will be setting a fast pace that will suit him help to settle, as otherwise he’s known to pull early, as well.

The yard ran a bit better than the bare form suggest. In the last week 3/6 were placed, while the average SP was in the range of 23/1 for all runners in the last 14 days. Context is key, hence, if talking about the form of a yard.

In summary, Healing Power should have a cracking chance and perhaps should be considered the favourite to win the race, in my view.

The prices on the exchanges are total bonkers for the moment (and you can get on a proper stake; there is even bigger available, but I got the price I got). Of course, you never know in these races. There might be a reason for that. But the price doesn’t put me off at all; I doubt at this stage anybody knows who’s going to be on a going day here.

10pts win – Healing Power @ 10/1

All-Weather Eyecatchers #5

A list of horses that caught my eye during the recent weeks of racing on the All-Weather.

Lord Paramount
20/12/22 – 3.55 Southwell:

Moved across from wide draw enthusiastically, probably wasted too much energy fighting for his head early on. Tracked pace four lengths off, going well entering home straight. Looked awkward, then hanging badly from 2 furlongs out. Empty in closing stages.

Won well lto over 7f in Novice company. Would be interesting down in trip, too. Dam did her best over minimum trip. He ran to a 74 speed rating in second career start. Hence opening mark could underestimate him.

Tricky sort. Shown tendency to hang. Still lightly raced and well backed on every occasion. Could be a good deal better than OR 70 if he can get his act together.

Race Replay

The Cola Kid
20/12/22 – 4.30 Southwell:

Moved forward to grab the lead, did a lot in the first three furlongs. Unable to quicken in the home straight, still a solid run, in line with last two performances.

Clearly best over 6 furlongs. Was not expected the last number of times. Comes down to excellent mark. Ran to higher speed ratings last year, and looks capable if on a going day, ideally 6f with a good draw.

Race Replay

Ustath
20/12/22 – 5.00 Southwell:

Off to a quick start, led early on, then as part of duo many lengths ahead of field before fading very badly.

Some return to form, as the enthusiasm for racing is still there. One that’s hard to catch. Comes down to solid mark again. Ran 3x times to speed ratings 54+ last year.

Ran okay nto, but did too much too soon after not starting the sharpest. Ideally would like to see a couple pounds lower in the mark (<62) before getting involved over 6f .

Race Replay

Desert Dream
21/12/22 – 6.30 Wolverhampton:

Was going well for the entire race toward the inside rail, possibly coming with a winning move before badly short of room over 1f out. Got going again. Excellent run.

Consistent 9yo, in the grip of the handicapper right now; still can win, but best speed rating in last half year was only 50. Want to see him down to this handicap mark, too, before getting involved, then over 7 furlongs.

Race Replay

Healing Power
22/12/22 – 11.50 Lingfield:

Lead from the front, albeit pestered by rival throughout. Set good, strong pace early on. Still leading at final furlong, before headed over half a furlong from home. Still managed to hold on for third. Should be strong form, ran to 59 speed rating.

Lenient handicapper dropped him another 2lb. Will be really competitive in similar race over 7f off. Ran tp 64 and 65 speed rating within last half year over this C&D.

Race Replay

O Twenty Boy
22/12/22 – 5.00 Southwell:

Bit outpaced at back of the field on stands’ side from over 2f out. Made nice progress in the final furlong under easy hands and heels, though.

Probably better over 6f, especially now as an 8yo. Ran well a number of times this year, including 4 performances achieving speed ratings of 60+.

Already down to a mark of 60. any further reduction will be interesting, in particular once he goes up in trip again.

Race Replay

Eagle Eyed Freddie
22/12/22 – 6.30 Southwell:

Uncontested lead by a couple of lengths. Set blistering pace, especially in the middle part. Still a few lengths ahead over 1 furlong out but tired rapidly. Huge run, speed rating 58.

Consistent front-runner. NTO performance not so good, should help to get some respite from the handicapper. Anything below OR 55 will be intriguing over a mile with a good draw and not much competition for the lead. A drop to 7f would be incredibly intriguing, too.

Race Replay

Shabs
22/12/22 – 7.00 Southwell:

Tracked pace, travelled much the strongest over 2 furlongs out but found little once again. Same story as lto when he travelled like a winner just to fade badly.

Knocked on the door multiple times but it’s obvious he doesn’t truly stays a mile. Pedigree points toward 6 furlongs, in fact. Will only back him if he drops to 7 furlongs. Then should be a cracking chance, ideally with a good draw. He’s not the sharpest starter.

Ran four times to 50+ speed ratings in the last twelve months, to 51 lto; on a mark of 51 right now, huge chance in the right race.

Race Replay

Proclivity
27/12/22 – 4.30 Wolverhampton:

Restrained at the back of the field travelling seriously well. Stuck in traffic and no chance until late when finishing third under hands and heels.

NTO run over 6f can be ignored as well. Wide draw, travelling on the outside keenly and big drifter on the day. Clearly better than this, and more likely in good nick as well as on a good mark. ideally drops down to 5f as best performances came over minimum trip.

Ran three times to speed ratings 60+ on turf; yet to replicate on the All-Weather. But this performance suggests he’s able to win if the handbrake is off. Has shown ability to move forward in the past as well.

Race Replay

Shark Two One
28/12/22 – 6.25 Newcastle:

Pushing pace on far side, they went a serious pace. Was still right there at the final furlong marker before getting desperately tired. Managed to hold on for 4th place.

Was capable to finish fine runner-up off 80 and running to a 73 speed rating last April. Never been in the same form again, but this was a return to some form, racing off a career lowest mark. Deserves another chance over 6f to see whether he can follow-up.

Race Replay

Billy Dylan
30/12/22 – 5.00 Wolverhampton:

Moved quickly forward and led as part of duo setting good pace. Still ahead as they turned for home before tiring quite badly. Strong race with winner went back-to-back and runner-up in form.

Off small break. Could be bang on next time out, possibly another reduction in his mark. Ideally drops down into 0-50; ran largely in better races this year.

Consistent front-runner over this course and distance. With lower mark and possibly easier race should have every opportunity to go close soon.

Race Replay

Big Bard
31/12/22 – 3.15 Lingfield:

Make good use of #1 gate and moved forward, led the field going solid clip, seemingly really enjoying himself for majority of the race. Tired from 1.5f out, though.

Ran to speed ratings 59 and 60 since September, although on turf, but career best AW SR is 59. Will be on a pretty fair mark soon. Ideally want to see him drop below 60 to become really interested.

He was beaten only by a neck off 60 running to 60 speed rating at Windsor in October with first time headgear (CP); I believe he’s as good on the All-Weather; watch out for application of blinkers potentially and/or drop into 0-60.

Race Replay

Fine Wine
01/01/2023 – 4.56 Southwell:

Quickly out of the gates and led as part of trio by a number of lengths, going a seriously hard pace. Tired badly from over a furlong out and hung to his left, but did best of front-runners holding on for 2nd.

Huge run. Went back to back prior. High mark now, may find it tough in Handicaps. More interesting on Stakes races over minimum trip. kept improving with age and this run confirms he’s as good as his current rating.

Race Replay

Modular Magic
01/01/2023 – 5.26 Southwell:

Led the field, although closely followed. Challenged from two furlongs out, eventually got behind, but stuck to it impressively in the closing stages.

Off a small break, had to carry big weight down in class. Hot race for class 5, though. Should find easier opportunities. On a good mark judged on turf performances in 2022.

Race Replay

Hit Mac
02/01/2023 – 1.53 Lingfield:

Travelled in rear on the outside off the rail, possibly wider than ideal. Moved toward the inside over 2 furlongs out, short of room and momentum stopped around the home bend. Possibly cost him the race.

Unlucky sort. Ran really well but found trouble multiple times over the last weeks. Ran consistently strong speed ratings in line with his mark of 55, 58 and 59.

Put up 2lb in the meantime. Can race more forward than here. Think he is still a win ahead with a clear run, ideally over 6 furlongs.

Race Replay

Smooth Red
02/01/2023 – 5.40 Newcastle:

Got significantly outpaced from halfway on, lost ground, before running on rather well in the final furlong.

Handicap debut off a break and freshly gelded, showed nothing in three starts prior. Should improve, especially up in trip. Looks to be crying out for a return to 6 furlongs. Could be interesting then.

Race Replay

Northern Chancer
02/01/2023 – 5.40 Newcastle:

A tiny step slow off the gate, before quickly moving forward against stands’ side. Led and was fastest over first half of the race but appeared to be hanging throughout. Faded badly in the last two furlongs.

Comeback run and Handicap debut. On a basement mark. Showed enough to suggest he can win a poor race. Family tends to do well on All-Weather. Sire has tremendous record over 5f at Newcastle in Handicaps.

May need to step up tp 6f to be seen to best effect. Headgear possibly needed. Wouldn’t rule out minimum trip with HG applied.

Race Replay

Thomas Equinas
03/01/23 – 2.00 Chelmsford:

Slowly away, quickly pushed forward to bulldoze his way to the front after one furlong. Set what looked a hot pace, and resemble more like an extended 5 furlong sprint, as nobody wanted to really go ahead until he grabbed the lead.

Emptied quickly entering the home straight when put under pressure by dedicated 5f sprinter from 3 furlongs out. Winner eventually came from well off the pace.

Still a maiden after 9 runs, but showed plenty of promise, especially two runs back over this CD when he ran off 57 to speed rating 54. Should get bit more help from handicapper now. Usually moves forward.

Race Replay

Jupiter Express
03/01/23 – 2.00 Chelmsford:

Was quickly out of the gate and briefly led, before rivals took over. Keen in the first half of the race. Didn’t have the pace to match winner and third but ran on well for a 59 speed rating n only his second start on the sand.

Ran an interesting race lto over 5f on debut for the new yard also, then at Wolverhampton after a break. Is still a maiden but knocked on the door a few times and achieved some solid speed ratings.

Want to see him drop below a mark of 60 and race over 6f. Not interested in next weeks 7f entry. Will likely pull too hard.

Race Replay

Another Angel
04/01/23 – 2.50 Newcastle:

Good, quick start, led the field by a couple of lengths setting a seemingly hot pace. Travelled well but eventually caught, headed and quickly beaten over one furlong out.

Doesn’t truly stay beyond the minimum trip (0/13 over 6f). Can be upgraded here and ran better than bare form lto as well. Not getting younger but still capable of running well. Especially interesting down to 5f with any additional help from the handicapper.

Race Replay

Kraken Power
04/01/23 – 3.20 Newcastle:

Travelled smoothly tracking the pace. In a good position over 2 furlongs out, but also in a pocket with no way to really get out. Jockey kept the gelding restraint, pulling back to the rear of the field approaching the final furlong in order to find space. Finished strongly, under hands and heels.

Familiar story. Mostly a similar story to a myriad of previous runs. Obviously ready to win, but needs to have absolutely everything to go right.

Won’t back him on the All-Weather unless he finds a way to drop below a mark of 50. He should be too well handicapped to lose, unless he run backwards. Otherwise wait until turf season, with better opportunities more suitable to his style.

Race Replay

Mogok Valley
04/01/23 – 7.00 Kempton:

Good start, travelled nicely amongst group of horses up with the pace. had to switch 2f out, and again over 1f out in order for clear run, looked bit disorganised, too, lost momentum. Ran on really well.

Handicap debut. Strong follow-up performance from recent comeback over 5f last month. Looks on fair mark but can improve for step up to 7f. Sire stamina index of 9.4, dam, although a sprinter during her racing career, produced 1m 5f winner already.

The Nail Gunner
05/01/23 – 2.15 Wolverhampton:

Grabbed the lead, set solid pace. Was up there for a long time and still fought gamely even after headed in the final furlong. This is strong form, winner and 3rd came from off the pace, and were on going days.

7f is too far, especially off current mark. Is rated right to his best. Ran 64 speed rating over 6f in July. Will be competitive, nonetheless, particularly with a good draw and if not much pace to compete against.

I want him down to 6f again and dropping by a couple of pounds. May need a few runs to get there.

Race Replay

Friends Together
06/01/23 – 6.15 Southwell:

Brilliant start, super quick out of the gates and showed solid early speed, settled well tracking the pace and kicked nicely in the home straight. Tired late.

Was most likely not run on merit in all starts prior. Clearly capable off current mark. April foal with a bit of scope, especially going up to a mile interesting.

Race Replay

Praise Of Shadow
06/01/23 – 8.15 Southwell:

Caught three deep on the outside, close up with the pace from his wide draw. Travelled well into home straight, kept fighting, but slightly hampered in tight race for gaps, before eased; ran home easily.

Put up strong speed rating when winning over CD lto. In line with similar speed ratings in when running really well in defeat. Clearly in superb form.

Possibly a bit too high in the ratings to consider really well handicapped. Drop a couple of pounds and 6f with race to dominate will see him have a big chance once again, though.

Race Replay

Cherryhawk
07/01/23 – 12.35 Lingfield:

Settled in rear, always travelling wide. Switched inside for challenge in the home straight. Ran on nicely, slightly short of room 1f out before going again.

Wasn’t expected in three runs. Should get a low opening mark. Looks one I am only interested if stepping up to 10f. On pedigree a fair possibly, and could unlock improvement. I liked the way she finished and responded late to the jockeys urgings.

Race Replay

Wake Up Harry
07/01/23 – 1.10 Lingfield:

Restrained, travelling smoothly well off the pace. Still going well when turning for home wider than ideal, before unleashing a fine challenge in the home straight. Not quite the speed to get to leaders and came from too far back.

Hasn’t been racing over the right trip the last two runs. Can forgive comeback run after long break too. Clear sign of hitting some form again here, will be interesting if up to a mile.

I’d also be seriously keen to see him up to 10 furlongs again. The two previous tries can be forgiven for various reasons. If he’s turned out in the not too distinct future over 1m-10f he should be a huge runner.

Race Replay

Sun King
07/01/23 – 8.00 Kempton:

Pushed after the start to get into position, travelled a few lengths off pace tracking it throughout, still going okay turning for home, bit flat footed as pace suddenly increased over 2f out; switched inside and ran on well, not knocked about.

Comeback run since Royal Ascot in June, in the meantime gelded and sold out of AOB for GBP120k and now trained in the UK.

Still open to improvement. Well bred and full-brother to some smart mares. Took him a few start to get off the mark. But some strong performances in defeat.

Second in a maiden behind subsequent Futurity runner-up Sissoko. Caught eye at Royal Ascot in hot Golden Gates Stakes when finishing well from the rear of the field over 10 furlongs. Races off the same mark currently. Will improve for the run. A strongly run mile needed, or else a step up to 10 furlongs.

Race Replay

Saturday Selections: 7th January 2023

Sense Of Security ran a lovely race to finish 3rd, about a lengths beaten; ultimately she was way too keen in the early stages. That cost her when it mattered most.

I will leave her alone now, as I believe she will struggle over 6 furlongs to win, and if she doesn’t settle better, will not be much better handicapped than her current mark over 7 furlongs either.

Ustath didn’t have the sharpest of starts, then moved quickly forward and set a pretty fast pace. He was cocked 2 furlongs from home.

I probably would have done better to wait for him to drop a couple of pounds more. In hindsight it’s fair to assume he wasn’t desperately well handicapped off 63 in this race today. The only thing I got right (but can’t buy any bred for) is that the two hot market principles got beaten, as suggested in the preview that they are worth taking on.

Onwards and upwards… we move on to Saturday. And I’m seriously excited. An outstanding day of top-class action awaits at Kenilworth in South Africa: two seriously competitive Grade 2’s and two Grade 1 races, including the mouthwatering King’s Plate, and a certain Christophe Soumillon is also going to be around.

The crème de la crème of South Africa’s older horses is present, as undefeated 3-year-old colt Charles Dickens tries to enhance his status as one, if not the very best colt in a very long time – perhaps, ever? More on that in a seperate post, later.

For now, I’ll focus on the bread and butter on the All-Weather. Not high hopes or expectations, being honest. However, both horses are well capable of outrunning their price tag, if on a going day.

……..

3.30 Lingfield: Class 6 Handicap, 10f

It looks like there could be quite a bit of pace here. In a race where not all of those up there are certain to stay the trip, and very few appear anywhere near well handicapped, it’s set it up for a closer, potentially.

I hope this could be Dashing To You. The gelding seriously caught the eye the last two times, in nearly the same fashion. That’s not entirely positive, because on both occasions he was he slowly away, travelled in rear and had to make up a lot of ground. Which he did in no uncertain terms, meaning he finished best and second best over the last three furlongs in those races.

The step up to 10 furlongs here looks a positive, in my mind. The jury is out whether he truly gets the trip – he is yet to win over this distance. But the pedigree gives hope, and the way he sees out his races, too.

Even though the pace might be hot – for a 10 furlong race – it may still be a bit more comfortable than in the recent races over a mile. He also was much more prominently positioned when racing over 10 furlongs in the past. That’s unlikely to happen here from the #12 gate. He will be ridden for luck, I assume.

In any case, Dashing To You to is clearly well handicapped. This most recent Lingfield effort saw him run to a 56 speed rating. Kindly enough the handicapper dropped him another pound, though. He already has ran 3 times to speed ratings higher than his current mark now.

There are clear question marks and concerns, namely draw, pace and stamina. But there are clear positives too, namely handicap mark, potential improvement for the trip and a slightly slower race as well as lesser opposition she has to face. Worth the risk.

10pts win – Dashing To You @ 15/1

…….

8.30 Kempton: Class 6 Handicap, 1m3f

I am tracking bottom weight Special Times since her eyecatching effort at Leicester in June last year and hope to catch her on the right day for a big effort.

Back in the summer she impressed with a solid speed rating over a trip most likely too sharp. There were additional circumstances that made this run worthy of an upgrade.

The pace was on and she was tracking it closely for most of the race. It became all a bit too hot from three furlongs out but she stuck to the task. She was quite one paced in the closing stages, clearly tired too, when it got tight inside the final furlong as well, but she continued bravely to finish the race in a good manner.

She showed some ability in maiden races before as well, especially catching the the eye the way she travelled at Windsor in May.

Special Times was always likely to be more at home over trips beyond a mile. She is out of a German dam who won over 11.5 furlongs in Germany, sire Time Test with a stamina index of 9f has shown to get horses that stay as far as 1m 4f – so plenty of stamina there to believe she can be competitive up in trip.

She returned after 193 days off the track at Wolverhampton last month over 9.5 furlongs. She ran well for a long time but faded badly in the closing stages, entitled to come on for the run.

Going up to 11 furlongs now, with the run under her belt, in this pretty poor race, I think she must have a big chance if allowed to run on merit.

The Cox yard isn’t going too well, but the application of blinkers is interesting, as she didn’t always look the sharpest, certainly not out of the gate on her comeback run, and seemed to lose focus in the closing stages in other races before, too.

10pts win – Special Times @ 15.5/1

Saturday Selections: 31st December 2022

Last day of the soon to be old year. One final chance to find a winner and end an eventual, yet ultimately successful and profitable year on a positive note.

A proper review of the year with stats and key learnings will follow in the coming days – for now, here’s one final selection in the year that is and then was 2022.

……..

2.40 Lingfield: Class 3 Handicap, 1m

Wadacre Grace looks a standout chance in this field, as she’s one of few who’s more than happy to move forward. Simply from a pace scenario she may enjoy the perfect race, but also from a handicapping perspective she makes plenty of appeal.

That may surprise, given I said after backing her last time out, that back then she was beaten fair and square in second place and I was wondering whether I had been too optimistic about the amount of pounds she could be ahead of the handicapper.

However, after analysing the recent Southwell race in more detail, I can only conclude that the initial assessment, that lead to the bet, still holds up strongly today; that is: over a mile against her own sex she is probably well handicapped off a 69 mark, especially with little competition for the lead.

The Southwell performance was strong. From her wider than ideal draw she made swift progress, travelling wide, to grab the lead and head for home going strongly approaching the home straight.

She only went down late in the final furlong, beaten by a filly who tracked the pace in third place throughout. Wadacre Grace, though, albeit slowing markedly from two furlongs out, still slowed the least bar the winner.

The handicapper has been surprisingly lenient, allowing her to race off the same 69 mark. It means she goes off bottom weight here, in a race that looks stronger on paper than last time out, but in reality contains very few rivals that appear anywhere close to be considered well handicapped.

In saying that, all the positive arguments brought forward the last time, remain valid today:

She caught the eye significantly the last two times prior to the Southwell run, in that light the lto performance is highly credible. It also means the 3-year-old filly showed a strong level of form in five of her six runs since successfully returning from a 5 months long break in September.

She kicked it all off with victory on handicap debut at Newcastle over 7 furlongs, despite showing some inexperience, she finished incredibly strongly to get up on the line. It’s been her trademark ever since to find plenty under pressure in the closing stages (with the exception of a subsequent poor run, which she has left behind the next three runs, though).

I love that attitude, less so the way she can start her races. She can be sluggish out of the gate, and quite keen in the early stages of the race. I reckon that cost her victory at Chelmsford, when less pronounced but clearly played a part why she ‘only managed’ third place.

She completely missed the break the next time at Kempton. She benefited from a slow early pace to quickly get back to the field but nonetheless had to spend significantly more energy than everyone else and found herself in the worst position possible, too. She finished like a train, eventually.

She had a better – if not ideal – start the next time She went forward to join the leader pushing a good pace, before dropping into second. Once again, when headed, she found plenty under pressure, especially staying on strongly in the final furlong for 2nd place. That was especially impressive after pushing the pace to finish so well. 

She has only ran to a 64 speed rating to date, although that came in her Newcastle victory in September. I still feel she is better than her current mark, in any case. She remains open for improvement on her tenth career run – as long as she doesn’t mess up at the start.

10pts win – Wadacre Grace @ 9/2

Thursday Selections: 22nd December 2022

I am prepared to give Havana Goldrush another chance, despite a major disappointment only a couple of days at Kempton.

It was an odd race on Monday. Certainly the winner was too well handicapped as the handbrake came off. But that had nothing to do with the poor showing of Havana Goldrush, who finished a long way beaten, in no relation to his excellent recent performances.

One of the possible reasons was the way the race developed from his wider than ideal draw in the early stages of the race. The gelding raced ide, not finding cover, and using valuable energy. He tends to be a tricky sort, so no surprise to see that it was game over before the race even really began. In any case, the performance was too bad to be true.

Hence I remain interested in Havana Goldrush once again. He was a massive eyecatcher on his penultimate run – he confirmed his excellent form, as I felt the two preceding runs deserved to be upgraded for various reasons, as well.

In the October race at Kempton, then over 7 furlongs, he had to overcome the widest draw, was bumped by a rival as the gates opened, was pushed to the outside as a consequence, and had to regain momentum. He found his stride swiftly, and then travelled strongly in the middle of the field.

Seemingly going best in the home straight, when looming large 2 furlongs from home, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages and possibly paying for the trouble at the beginning of the race.

As touched on, his two runs prior were noteworthy as well: a strong 3rd place in September at Chelmsford over a mile, when he attempted to make all, and possibly was doing too much too soon. A few weeks earlier he finished third over the same CD, when badly hampered at crucial times of the race.

Those performances indicated Havana Goldrush is seemingly holding his form quite well, and is ready to strike, when he gets a clear run…. with the caveat that Mondays run puts a big question mark behind it all.

He’ll have assistance of a solid 5lb claiming apprentice once again. Draw and pace chart look favourable, in a sense he shouldn’t need to waste loads of energy to slot in a couple of lengths behind the leader.

10pts win – Havana Goldrush @ 9.5/1

Monday Selections: 19th December 2022

Before talking about more mundane things, such as a 0-70 Handicap at Kempton, I must mention the sublime: Charles Dickens!

South Africa has a new superstar – perhaps the most exciting colt for a long time, indeed. When someone like Mike de Kock says this, you must take note:

 “….the best I’ve seen since our own Horse Chestnut won the Guineas 23 years ago”

I’ve been following the progress of this son of Trippi for a while, and certainly felt ever since his Grade 3 Cape Classic victory he could be something special.

Of course, you hope, but you never can be totally sure whether such bonkers performances are real or simply down to some freak conditions on the day. Well, Charles Dickens followed up in similar style, before going into the Grade 1 Cape Guineas as the heavy odds-on favourite on Saturday.

He delivered in the most incredible way possible, in a strong renewal of the Cape Guineas, left his rivals standing still as he changed gear over two furlongs from home. You won’t see many easier winners in a Grade 1.

Spectacular, sublime, unreal, brilliant, outrageous… take your pick. I struggle to find actual words to properly describe this performance!

………….

2.50 Kempton: Class 5 Handicap, 1m

This is a rather competitive race for a modest Monday card at Kempton. You can make more or less solid cases for probably half the field. The pace scenario is certainly intriguing. Hard to call what’s going to happen.

Favourite Brains is handicapped to win, no doubt: the handbrake was off last time out, when he wasn’t quite the luckiest, though; same mark today, 9lb lower than his last winning mark and a solid 3lb claimer on board.

Obvious chances, however, quite a short price, one I wouldn’t want to trust with my money in a hot race as this, I must say.

There is solid opposition in Covert Mission, who may be a touch too high in the ratings now, but he loves this course and distance and has the form in the book to go close.

Buick on board of Exciting News, on her All-Weather Handicap debut. She will enjoy this additional furlong today and is dangerous off her rating, but ultimately difficult to gauge.

Lost In Time caught the eye two races back – if this is a muddling affair he’s not out of it; although I prefer to see him over 7 furlongs.

No question, though, the one I am really interested in from a betting point of view is Havana Goldrush. A massive eyecatcher when last seen, he confirmed his excellent form, as I felt the two preceding runs deserved to be upgraded for various reasons.

Last time out at Kempton, then over 7 furlongs, he had to overcome the widest draw, was bumped by a rival as the gates opened, was pushed to the outside as a consequence, and had to regain momentum. He found his stride swiftly, and then travelled strongly in the middle of the field.

Seemingly going best in the home straight, when looming large 2 furlongs from home, he failed to put the race to bed, apparently hanging in the closing stages and possibly paying for the trouble at the beginning of the race.

As touched on, his two runs prior to this most recent October race were noteworthy as well: a strong 3rd place in September at Chelmsford over a mile, when he attempted to make all, and possibly was doing too much too soon. A few weeks earlier he finished third over the same CD, when badly hampered at crucial times of the race.

Those performances indicate Havana Goldrush is holding his form quite well, and is ready to strike, when he gets a clear run.

It’s a slightly easier race today, and get the assistance of apprentice Taylor Fisher, who’s value for his 5lb claim. The downside is a wider than ideal draw, although perhaps less of an issue with only seven other rivals in the race.

Havana Goldrush tends to hang in finishes, he’s clearly a tricky sort. Nonetheless, I feel, even in this competitive Handicap, if he gets a clear run, he’s going to be difficult to beat today.

10pts win – Havana Goldrush @5/1